As with developing a vision, the first step to developing the ideal culture for your workplace is to make a list of core values that you want as the bedrocks of your organisation’s culture. These values will differ from one workplace to another, depending on a multitude of factors including the size of the organisation, its purpose, the industry it is a part of, the average age of the employees, its geographical location and so on. But culture is always informed by the workplace’s managers and leaders. Here we discuss actions leaders can tale to develop the culture they want.
Lead by example: It almost goes without saying that an indispensable component to developing a healthy culture in your workplace is to embody and demonstrate the behaviour, attitude and work ethic you wish to see others emulate. This may involve being more self-aware and conscious of your interactions than you would otherwise be. As part of leading by example, you will need to ensure that you have sponsors of the kind of culture you wish to develop in the senior echelons of your workplace. They must also support and demonstrate the types of behaviour needed to create an example.
Consider the physical space: Make sure your the workplace is physically inclusive, accommodating and equitable. Make sure there is easy access for those with wheelchairs or limited mobility; have appropriate spaces for prayer, or private reflection. Beyond issue of equity, consider how your office plan can enable to type of social culture you would like: Is there a communal breakaway or eating space? Would your workplace benefit from an open plan layout? Or hot-desking facilities?
Have a solutions-oriented set of systems: Make sure that if employees have grievances, complaints or concerns there is a proper system in place to for them to use. Ensure there is somebody they can go to and a system in place that will facilitate finding a solution.
Encourage and reward: Make sure you acknowledge when colleagues, employees or members contribute to developing a healthy workplace culture. Make sure that you’re not only providing feedback when it’s critical – this won’t encourage your team members to see you as on their side. Instead, explicitly acknowledge successes, improvements and developments.
End the burnout delusion: Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post argues for the importance of valuing the people who make up your workplace: “Burnout is not the price we must pay for success. Leaders need to realise that taking care of their human capital is just as important as PnL, Ebitda and quarterly earnings. Living a sustainable life, and making sure their employees do too, is the best way for a leader to sustain growth.”